Blue and Green Music Samuel Hazo
The stunning artwork of Georgia O'Keeffe is no more apparent than in her famous 1921 painting entitled Blue and Green Music. Fittingly commissioned by the Patrick Marsh Middle School in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin (O'Keeffe's birthplace), Samuel Hazo does an amazing job of portraying subtle as well as bold colors into musical terms. Based on a single theme that is manipulated and varied throughout, the piece progresses from delicate mallet percussion effects up to climatic impact points for the entire ensemble.
Foundry John Mackey
The idea with Foundry was to make a piece that celebrates the fact that percussionists have this ability to make just about anything into an "instrument." Snare drums and bass drums are great, but why not write a whole piece featuring non-traditional percussion -- things like salad bowls and mixing bowls and piles of wood?
In some cases, I was specific about what instrument to play (timpani, xylophone, etc.). With many of the parts, though, I only described what sound I wanted (play a "clang" — a metal instrument, probably struck with a hammer, that creates a rich "CLANG!" sound), and allowed the percussionist to be creative in finding the best "instrument" to make the sound I described.
It won't be surprising that Foundry, for concert band with "found percussion," much of it metallic, ends up sounding like a steel factory. The composer thanks the required 10–12 percussionists for allowing his ridiculous requests to continue. Clang.
Rippling Watercolors Brian Balmages
Many often underestimate the extensive colors, harmonies, and emotional range that are often achievable in younger ensembles. It is in this spirit that the musical lines of Rippling Watercolors was born. This was not meant to be a lyrical piece for younger ensembles; rather, it was written as a fully expressive lyrical work that happens to be playable by younger ensembles. I believe there is a significant difference. No phrases were truncated, no ranges were “limited,” and no rhythms were watered down for the sake of playability. This piece just happens to be attainable by younger groups, yet the music exists exactly as it would even if I had written this for a college group.
The idea for this piece came from a simple set of watercolors. When children get hold of these and use their imagination, the most amazing things can happen. Children can see things that adults never see. They open our minds while we help them grow and learn. With a little imagination, these watercolors can become a
magnificent sunrise or sunset over the ocean, a gorgeous view from a mountaintop, or an image of a supernova in space. The smallest drop can change the pattern and create something entirely new, either with a brush or entirely within nature.
Prairie Dances David Holsinger
Settled in 1876, Wichita Falls, Texas, became a cattle and grain shipping center after the arrival of the railroad in 1882. One can imagine the hustle and bustle of this cowboy town in those railroad days where the 'rambunctiousness' of the cowhand came face to face with the businesslike demeanor of the mercantile owners and the frontier gentility of the Ladies Society. For my good friends in Region II, I offer this 'celebrative' cowboy dance to commemorate the rip-roaring history that surrounds this portion of the Texas portrait. Note by the composer Symphonic Band Kirkpatrick Fanfare Andrew Boysen Jr. Kirkpatrick Fanfare was commissioned by Central Missouri State University for the dedication of the James C. Kirkpatrick Library in March 1999. This work has a definite Irish flavor, including a strain of Danny Boy. The "fanfare" features driving rhythms and exciting brass figures, making this dramatic work sure to please both performers and audiences alike. The premiere took place at the dedication ceremony held on March 24, 1999, conducted by Patrick F. Casey. It was an event of considerable pride for CMSU: the keynote speaker was Missouri’s then-Governor Mel Carnahan. Kirkpatrick had been Missouri’s secretary of state for 20 years. Casey described Kirkpatrick as “famously ‘Irish’ with his humor and attire.” Boysen had been made aware that Kirkpatrick was very proud of his Irish heritage, hence the resulting Irish flavor of the music. Redwood Ryan George When the Collins Hill High School Band [Suwanee, Georgia] approached me about writing a piece for their head band director, who was set to retire at the end of the year, they wanted something that spoke not only to this man's love of music but also to his love for the great outdoors. I was reminded then of the times growing up when my family and I would go camping in Sequoia National Park and we would set up our tents among the giant redwood trees that grow in that region of California. These trees command attention with their immense stature, their size the result of years gone by and storms weathered. And yet they exude a peaceful and subtle tranquility. This idea of "Powerful Tranquility" became the cornerstone that this lyrical tone poem was created.
Redwood was commissioned by the Collins Hill High School Band and written in honor of Richard Marshall. Note by the Composer Country Gardens Percy Aldridge Grainger Country Gardens is an English folk tune that Cecil Sharp collected in 1908 and passed on to Grainger, who played improvisations on it during his World War I tour as a concert pianist for the U.S. Army. According to Grainger, it is a dance version of the tune The Vicar of Bray. Once published in its original piano form, the tune brought Grainger great success. However, it was not among his favorite compositions. Later in life, despite the steady stream of income from its royalties, the fame of Country Gardens and the widespread public association of this work as being his best known piece, the work came to haunt Grainger. Mentally, it became his albatross. He came to think of his own brilliant original music as “my wretched tone art.” He once remarked, “The typical English country garden is not often used to grow flowers in; it is more likely to be a vegetable plot. So you can think of turnips as I play it.” When asked in 1950 by Leopold Stokowski to make a new arrangement for Stokowski’s orchestra, Grainger obliged with a wildly satirical version that literally sticks out its tongue at the success of the little tune. In 1953, he rescored that arrangement for band. Reflecting his mood at the time, it is a bitingly sophisticated parody that was to become his only band setting of the music.. I’m Seventeen Come Sunday Percy Aldridge Grainger arr. Larry Daehn Originally scored for chorus and brass band, I'm Seventeen Come Sunday was written in 1905 and is dedicated to Edvard Grieg. It is No. 8 of Grainger’s British Folk Song Settings, and represents some of his earliest folksong collecting. In Larry Daehn’s arrangement the voicings and harmonies have been faithfully preserved for wind band. Scherzo: Cat and Mouse Robert Spittal The "cat and mouse chase" has been a part of folklore and popular culture since the time of pharaohs in ancient Egypt. Over the ages, the chase has served as a metaphor for the suspenseful and sometimes alternating relation between hunter and hunted. In the modern age, the story has been played out hundreds of times in popular animated cartoons, often accompanied by a musical score representing the energetic spirit of the chase with lively twists and turns, sudden surprises and tongue-in-cheek music.